One of the most critical and significant areas of any business is the creation of new opportunities: For many companies, I have noticed, it is the critical focus, often to the detriment of existing customers - but that is another topic, and I do not want to distract you from today's key message.
My regular observations have led me to conclude that very few organizations have a formal plan, strategy or methodology in place to manage leads, preferring the "scatter-gun" approach, because all business is good business, isn't it? Well, actually no, it isn't.
Use of 'Pareto Thinking' is highly relevant and important when applied to sales people. For example, 20% of sales people's activities will create 80% of sales achieved, which has enormous consequences on how to optimize and manage lead generation activities.
Generating leads is an important sales activity that plants the seeds of growth for sustainable business development. A lead is purely a name that you could refer to as a SUSPECT because their potential to buy is unknown.
Before you can qualify leads to determine whether they have the money, authority and desire to buy your products/services, you need to generate them!
When deciding upon which lead generation methods work best for you and your organization, it helps to have clarity on the type of customers that you'd like to attract. This means creating an Ideal Customer Profile that can begin to provide direction to your lead generation activities.
For example, the following questions will stimulate your thinking when it comes to developing an Ideal Customer Profile:
● What size of organization would you prefer to deal with?
● Typically, how many people will they employ?
● What market sector(s) do these organizations operate within?
● Who specifically will be buying your products/services and what are their job titles?
● Where geographically would you like these organizations to be located?
● What does your organization offer that is unique?
● What types of organizations will be attracted by this uniqueness?
● What do your best customers possess that you would like to replicate in others?
● Which of your existing customers were the easiest and quickest to convert?
● What similarities do these customers possess?
● Are there any specific criteria that prospective organizations should have in place, so that your products/services can be optimized?
Having a well-defined profile of your 'ideal customer' can prove to be invaluable when determining which methods to use for lead generation, and improves the effectiveness of marketing initiatives.
Suffice to say that adhering to your ideal profile immediately eliminates targets that are unsuitable, so you only focus on winnable/profitable opportunities.
You may also discover that the process for asking for referrals becomes easier and generates a better response, because you are providing the person with a tighter specification of what you are looking for - this concentrates their thinking towards the direction you have defined.
So let's get serious about lead generation, shall we?